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Publisher: James Threadgill
Editor: Barry Hannes
Theme: WWWeb Concepts
Graphics: Wayne James
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Voice Mail

Voice Mail

Voice Mail

If I thought what I now say
Had any chance of being carried back by you,
This flame would cease to stir; but since no one may
Return alive from here. . . .

If I erected

a suicide machine

in the shape

of a cross—

so  when I

step into place,

lash my feet

to upright,

tie my arms

to crossbeam,

press remote:

crown of thorns

smashes into head,

pelted with stones,

spikes drive through

ankles and wrists,

spear through side.

Would it rate mention

in the

Headline News ticker?

Or would my

cynical Howl

be lost in the

 24 hour news cycle

like grime tossed

 upon a windshield

—S P L A T—

then gone in a whir

and a flash?

. . .

After the examiners,

take samples,

coroners flash


cleaners sanitize

the wet-spot,

will the undertaker

prop up

my mortal remains

for friends, family,

and twisted gawkers?

Will they flash

 gruesome pictures

on the news screen?

Will visitors travel

from miles around

to see where

such a  macabre

death took place?

Perhaps visit the grave

 of a clever and

determined suicide?

Or will my final comment

on my life and times

be lost

in the mindless cacophony

of a generation

 that cannot get over

how cool it is?

Enthrall to instant celebrities

—famous for being famous—

smart phones, HDTVs,

Blu-Ray, IPod, 3D IMAX ,

they think they have it all.

. . .

I see dark,

damaged souls

gliding by

in Acuras, Lexus,

and Hummers,

 blind to the pain

and  poverty

surrounding  them,

judging others

by the size

 of their paycheck,

believing  they

know all, yet

knowing nothing.

. . .

Will I be robbed

of my fifteen seconds:

my bitter yawp

bumped from the

news ticker

by the latest


or the antics

of a slut pop diva?

. . .

Spent NOS cartridges**

surrounding me,

anaesthetized ,

I dodge

bill collectors.

Hola, te pregunta, por favor?

I answer  their calls,

chasing them


with a lenguaeje

they  do not comprehend.

. . .

I sit alone


a ragged claw,

 Solomon to the south,

 Ezekiel to the north,

in a tattered chair,

in a run down

mobile home.

Raw plywood floors

leaky roof,

failing electrical—

bulbs brilliant

to power spikes

or flickering out—

at the end

of a potholed street.

my home an empty shell


by memories

of happy times,

legions of demons

and I

work fiendishly

on the cross,

 and pray

for The End.

**NOS Cartridges: nitrous oxide whipped cream charger.

Wayne James

Wayne James

James Threadgill was born in Houston, Texas, and has lived near Houston his entire life—except during military service. He attended public schools where he was active in student sports.

James took the GED following the first semester of his senior year and enlisted with the U. S. Army. An expert marksman, he served as a Combat Engineer in the 1st. Cavalry Division. After, James worked for the family business for a few years, then, at the age of 33, entered college. He graduated a Bachelor of Science—Summa Cum Laude—in Human Behavior and later a Master of Arts in Psychology—earning Psi Chi and Phi Kappa Phi honors—at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

A professional web developer and designer, James has been published as himself and as Wayne James in several genres, including: speculative, crime, and literary fiction, as well as poetry, essay, and political opinion and won awards for his writing, research, and photography, including a Texas Intercollegiate Press Award for literary short story.

James' fiction first appeared in Raconteur in 1995, and his poetry in Lucidity in 1996. His collection of poetry and short fiction, When Only the Moon Rages, released byHadrosaur Productions in 2001, is available on Amazon. Most recently his work appeared in Tales of the Talisman Winter 2010 and Spring 2011 issues. The dark poem Voice Mail appeared in Lone Star Legacy, Winter 2014. In addition to writing, James works in many media, including: photography, charcoal, sketch, Flash animation, computer graphics, and makes and paints Native American Drums.

Our Cost of Empire

“And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” Revelation 13:1-3.

And the beast called itself GOP and written upon its seven heads are: Avarice, Cowardice, Entitlement, Homophobia, Ignorance, Misogyny, and Racism. And the meek shall cry out in agony. And the beast shall be slain by the Lamb, in their name. And the beast's name shall be erased from the minds of men forever.